C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Officers get 15 days to vacate houses
New allotment rules come into force
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 18
Government servants can no longer retain government accommodation beyond entitlement. Beneficiaries, including a Punjab cadre PCS officer, have been asked to immediately vacate the houses they have been occupying for long. Irked, Punjab is deliberating on taking the matter with the adminstration.

After issuing a 15-day notice, the Chandigarh administration has allowed such occupants to opt for out-of-turn allotment of accommodation to which they are entitled.

Well-connected government servants, including bureaucrats, had managed to get houses of their choice. So far, 15 persons, among them doctors and police personnel, have been issued notice. A senior Punjab-cadre bureaucrat, who had been UT finance secretary, had to move to another house after he went back to Punjab.

Sources in the administration said notices were issued after an amendment in the Government Residences (Chandigarh Administration General Pool) Allotment Rules, 2007.

An official said the amendment had been made after changes in the house allotment rules made by the central government. On condition of anonymity, one of the affected occupant who has been living in a government accommodation for over 10 years, said the notice had come as a shock. The affected officers do not rule out legal recourse on the matter.

The administration rules do not allow allotment of a government house to state-cadre officers unless they have a posting in Chandigarh. But there have been exceptions in the past.

On the issue of change of allocation of house in the Punjab and Haryana pool, the UT officials say that allocation of government houses is a prerogative of the administration.

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Forum tells bank to refund penal interest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 18
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum-II has come to the rescue of unsuccessful applicants of HUDA plots in Sectors 2 and 6 of Mansa Devi Complex who were wrongly charged penal interest by the Union Bank of India.

Terming the charging of penal interest as deficiency in service, the forum directed the bank to pay 5.5 per cent interest on Rs 60,000 each to Raman Sharma and Rajan Kapoor.

In their application, Sharma and Kapoor had said they applied for plots in 2004. While they had taken a loan of Rs 1.5 lakh each from the Sector 40 branch, they had deposited the rest of the amount -- Rs 60,000 -- to pay the earnest money to HUDA.

The loan was reportedly sanctioned at 8.5 per cent. However, even as the draw was held after about 20 months, the bank charged penal interest from them for a period of 14 months. When HUDA refunded the earnest money, the bank deducted Rs 15,599 each. This was despite the fact that the bank was paid an interest of 5.5 per cent by HUDA for 14 months.

The applicants contended that the condition of penal interest was “unjustified” as the delay in the draw was HUDA’s fault. The forum directed the bank to pay 5.5 per cent on Rs 60,000 from May 27, 2005, to January 21, 2006, and also refund the amount of penal interest charged from the complainants.

The order is likely to benefit thousands of unsuccessful applicants who had applied through the bank.

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Gurdeep gets life term for killing daughters
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 18
Additional and sessions judge Raj Rahul Garg today awarded life imprisonment to Gurdeep Kaur for the murder of her two daughters. She was sentenced to six months’ rigorous imprisonment (RI) for attempt to suicide and fined her Rs 1,000.

Gurdeep is eight months’ pregnant. “I didn’t want the delivery of the child in jail,” said a very dejected Gurdeep. On August 27, 2005, she jumped into the Sukhna Lake in the afternoon with four-year-old Jyoti and two-year-old Manpreet following financial problems and problems with the mother-in-law.

Gurdeep has been convicted under Sections 302 and 309 of the IPC. Despite the life sentence, Gurdeep looked calm and moved out of the court after a few minutes of the order. Her husband, a tailor, stood by her side throughout.

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Defence clears civil air terminal for Mohali
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh , October 18
he Union Ministry of Defence has given permission to have a civil airport terminal at Mohali while permitting the use of the landing strip of the airbase at Chandigarh. The civil terminal to be located in Mohali district abutting the airbase will be connected to the existing airstrip.

The matter will be finally taken up in a full board meeting of the Airports Authority of India scheduled for November. A team of the AAI had met Punjab chief secretary Ramesh Inder Singh and informed him about these developments yesterday.

Details emerging today indicated once the AAI board clears the project an MoU will be signed with the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA). A small civil terminal exists on Chandigarh side of the airstrip. This handles domestic flights.

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Sanjay’s name cleared for finance secy?
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 18
With just over one and half months left for the term of UT finance secretary S.K. Sandhu to end, the ministry of home affairs is learned to have cleared the name of 1988-batch Punjab cadre IAS officer Sanjay Kumar for the post.

However, there is no official confirmation on the development.

When contacted, sources in the administration refused comment.

Also in the race for the post was 1986-batch Punjab cadre IAS officer M.P. Singh.

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Bapu Dham Colony
56 boundary walls razed 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 18
The MC today launched an anti-encroachment drive in Bapu Dham Colony and removed encroachments in over 60 per cent houses. In all, encroachments in 730 houses were removed today.

Out of a total of 2,012 houses in the colony, 1,306 had encroachments. As many as 185 single-storeyed rooms and 56 boundary walls were razed.

Also, residents have been given two days to clear malba and 45 days to remove rest of the encroachments.

MC commissioner P.S. Aujla said the intention was to restore the colonies to their original look. “Residents need to realise they are a part of this planned city and should keep it that way,” he said.

The drive undertaken today was phase one of the drive.

Once the encroachments were removed, the MC would undertake development projects, including sanitation, streetlights, better water supply and development of green belt.

“We are ready to invest any amount of money to restore the colonies to what they were and to provide the residents with basic amenities. But the colony residents have to support us,” he said.

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Trees axed to make way for road
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 18
After months of delay, the work on widening of incomplete stretches of the highway passing along the Industrial Area, Phase II, will begin soon. For, the UT engineering department finally axed two full-grown trees to pave the way for the work on road widening today. A senior official said it had been an outstanding issue and had now been resolved.

The managements of the Kanthala Sahib Gurdwara, Industrial Area, Phase II, and an adjacent temple have already removed portions of their structures that fell on the highway. In January, the Chandigarh administration had effected a compromise with the management of religious places. The administration had identified at least 20 such religious structures that had been impeding development projects.

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Commuters for more buses during peak hours
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 18
The local transport authority needs to review the frequency of buses under the grid system, especially during peak hours, feel commuters.

Most of the CTU buses ply full in the morning, afternoon and evening. But seats are largely empty during the rest of the day.

While students account for heavy rush during morning and afternoon hours, in the evening, commuters returning from offices lead to overcrowding in buses.

“We have to face a lot of problem in morning and afternoon hours. As buses come packed to the brim, it gets very difficult, especially for girls, to board them. Many a time, buses do not stop at the earmarked stops”, says Sunita, a student waiting at a Sector 20 bus queue shelter. Sunita goes to school from Mani Majra by bus every day.

“We often get late for school due to no fault of ours,” she added.

Harassment of women commuters in overcrowded buses is common.

Nisha, a college student, laments: “Many unscrupulous elements take advantage of the crowd in buses to tease women passengers. Women often have to encounter unsavoury acts in buses.”

“A solution to the problem is increasing the frequency of buses during rush hour,” feel commuters.

Sandeep, a student of Government College, Sector 46, says: “By increasing the number of buses during peak hours, the local transport can attract more commuters, who otherwise use private transport like auto-rickshaw”, says Sandeep.

Gurbaksh Ray, a resident of Sector 56, feels that the authorities should keep a check on drivers who skip their routes.

“I have been waiting for a bus for over an hour with my daughter but none has come yet. This also leads to crowding in buses. The authorities should keep an eye on such staff,” says Gurbaksh.

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MC proposes to set up cattle traps
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 18
Cattle traps at the entry points of B-roads of all sectors are likely to get the nod of the councillors. It has been proposed to set up cattle traps in all sectors where residents are willing.

This and more is on the agenda of the first meeting to be chaired by reinstated municipal council president Seema Chaudhary, likely to be held next weekend. Markets of the city will get a face-lift and residents can hope for better facilities in markets areas with renovation of toilets on the cards. Tiles will be re-laid on market pavements and floodlights will be installed to light up the market areas.

After a visit to the various wards, Chaudhary had invited a list of all pending development works in the wards. This, too, figures in the agenda prepared for the next meeting. These include installation of benches and flood lights, laying of concrete pavements around the parks and repair of swings.

The council has also suggested that plinths be constructed to place dustbins and construct three feet high walls to ensure these do not become eyesores. In an effort to rectify faulty tubelights, the council will purchase new tubelights sets to replace old faulty ones.

While the estimates have been finalised for laying of drains in all 13 villages, the council is also likely to press for identifying an area for shifting dairies out of the villages to rid the city of the menace of cattle on the roads.

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Parks to get facelift
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 18
A sum of nearly Rs 4 crore is being spent by the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) to beautify and develop about 550 parks in the town. To be build on a BOT basis, tenders of these will be opened on October 30.

The maximum amount of Rs 43.39 lakh is being spent to develop parks in Sector 70 followed by Sector 54 where GMADA has planned to spend Rs 37.90 lakh. Similarly, a sum of Rs 35.10 lakh will be spent on parks in Sector 65 and Rs 34 .86 lakh in Sector 69.

The amount being spent on parks in Sectors 53 and 56 is Rs 10.75 lakh and Rs 11. 95 lakh, respectively.

Four divisional engineers - two from the civil works branch and two from the public health wing of GMADA - have been asked to supervise the work of developing parks in the areas assigned to them.

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Jet city-Mumbai flight takes off
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 18
The inaugural flight of Jet Airways to Mumbai from the city was inaugurated by Air Commodore S.R.K. Nair, Air Officer in Command, 12 Wing, and airport director Suneel Dutt today.

Jet Airways airport manager Abid Hussain said the inaugural flight arrived from Mumbai with 114 passengers while it departed with 103 passengers. The flight to Mumbai would be a direct and daily flight, with a capacity of 122 passengers.

The Mumbai-Chandigarh sector is slated to be an important sector and for the coming week, the flight, according to Hussain, is already 80 per cent booked. The flight from the city will depart for Mumbai at 12.50 pm.

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MC meeting advanced to Oct 20
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 18
The meeting of the MC this month has been rescheduled following developments with regard to foreign jaunts of councillors. The meeting will be held on October 20, at least 10 days sooner than when it is usually held.

Officials state that the meeting has been advanced to accommodate the mayor’s visit to Korea to attend the World Congress and also the visit of the councillors to Bangkok and Singapore.

Meetings with officials have been fixed for October 23 and 24 in Singapore and October 26 in Bangkok. Official clearance for the trip has, however, yet to arrive, but the councillors are hopeful to leave on October 22. The meeting has, therefore, been advanced.

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Letters
Make proper arrangements

The Mansa Devi Shrine Board Act came into existence in 1991 and a board was constituted for managing the affairs of temple. Most of the board members were ex-officio members.

A lot of changes have taken place since then but the Mansa Devi Board internet site, established in Oct 2002, has never been updated.

It gives wrong information about the ‘darshan’ timings in the temple. There is no mention of the last shrine board meeting or the Navratras either.

As far I know, no shrine board meeting has taken place in the last few years. The shrine board is just an eye wash. There should be a 24-hour helpline during Navratras and all useful telephone numbers be displayed for convenience of the devotees.

During these Navratras, a large number of VIPs, have visited the temple and as per a statement of DC, Panchkula, a large amount of donations have been received.

Almost two years back, the shrine board had promised to sell gold and silver coins, which has not been fulfilled. The Navratra fair is a regular feature since long, and the shrine board, which is cash rich, should make permanent arrangements for cleanliness and parking etc.

Manjula Kiran, Panchkula

Readers are invited to write to us. Send your mail, in not more than 200 words, at news@tribuneindia.com or, write in, at: Letters, Chandigarh Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh – 160 030

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Theft under nose of cops
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 18
In spite of a 24-hour security in front of the house of lawyer Arvind Thakur, some clothes and a battery of a Kinetic Honda scooter were stolen from his residence last night.

In his complaint to the police station-34, the lawyer alleged that four pairs of pants, two shirts and a battery of his scooter were stolen from his Sector 44 residence.

Two security men of the Chandigarh police and a Punjab police guard had been deputed at the house. A case has been registered under Section 379 at the police station.

Stolen

In a complaint with the police, Sumesh Gupta alleged that Rs 10,000 in cash and documents were stolen from his plot in Industrial Area last night. A case under Sections 380 and 457, IPC, has been registered.

Gautam Kalra of Sector 38 reported to the police that his purse containing Rs 700 in cash, identity card, driver’s licence and a mobile phone were stolen from his Maruti car, parked near Government Model School, Sector 15, yesterday. The police has registered a case.

Vehicle stolen

Anup Kumar, a resident of Mani Majra, alleged that his Pulsar motor cycle (CH 03 X 8747) was stolen from his residence on the intervening night of October 9 and 10.A case has been registered.

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